Posts Tagged ‘Class’

Social class is necessary for any society and does not have to be unjust

September 28, 2016

One of the great “politically correct” myths is that people are born equal. A fundamental strength of the human race is that we are all unique individuals and not identical copies rolling off a production line. Our genes fix the envelope of our potential capabilities, and our upbringing determines to what extent we fulfill our potentials. The fundamental fallacy in Marxist theory is in the assumption that a classless society is desirable. In fact it is not even possible. Forcing or coercing unequal people to be “equal” is always unjust.

Some have considered class a “necessary evil” and most social theories assume that having classes is, in itself, unfair and a “bad thing”. But there is no example of a successful (sustainable and growing) society which has not had social classes of some kind. Ruling and ruled, rich or poor, aristocracy and peasants, masters and slaves, the political class and the great unwashed, workers and bosses, union members and others, employers and employees, producers and consumers, Brahmins and the Dalits. The Guilds were about capability and competence to begin with but later became contaminated when they became “closed”. Secret societies grew to try and create new classes which cut across other class boundaries. My hypothesis is that in any society, the inherent variations in human capabilities and competences make social classes both inevitable and necessary. Human diversity (genetic and epigenetic) is (I assume) a fundamental component for the success of the human race (again defined as being sustainable and growing). That diversity is what makes people unequal. The inequality is not, in itself, unjust. It just is. We are not clones  – thank goodness.

Since the French revolution, “egalite” has been made into a fashionable – but false god. A search for “equality” is not just incompatible with, it is also opposed, to a search for justice. It is just for a sick person to receive more care than a healthy person but it is unequal. Affirmative action may be one way of approaching fairness – but it is unequal. The “better man wins” in the Olympics is a celebration of the inherent inequality among humans. If we wanted equality of result, Usain Bolt would have to be handicapped (about 10 m would do). The capitalist goal of “to each as he deserves” and the socialist objective of “to each as he needs” are both expressions which inherently acknowledge the reality of inequality. They both seek their definitions of what is just – not what is equal.

The real issue is not, I think, to seek a classless condition which would cause society to break down, but to achieve classes which are not unjust. Classes will appear as a natural consequence of humans being gregarious. The real solution, which may well have to be a dynamic solution to fit the times, is to design the class system to be used, rather than let it appear by default. Most of the perceived injustices of class are connected to either the classes being hereditary or because movement between the classes is forbidden. The Indian caste system is grossly unjust because it is both hereditary and it forbids movement between castes. Having a class system does not necessitate oppression or injustice. At any given time, even the much vaunted “open” Swedish society also has its functioning classes, but to its credit – and even though there is a not an insignificant hereditary component – movement of individuals across class lines is possible, regular and continuous.

The real question is what attributes to use in defining classes which help a society to function and which are not unjust. It cannot be along just hereditary lines and it cannot be just based on wealth. However any class system must be able to accommodate the realities of ancestry and wealth. Parents will always seek to give their children an advantage  and wealth will always be able to purchase more. Whatever classes we invent must be capable of juxtaposing different levels of wealth within each class and must allow membership from any parentage. It should be possible to move from one class to another.

My choice of class system would then be one where the classes themselves did not create a hierarchy and where the main classification criterion would be based on the predominant, gainful occupation of the individual.  Each class would have its share of rich and poor, idiots and geniuses, and its share of parasites. Classification would not be until the prefrontal cortex was fully developed (at 25). Everybody under 25 would be a non-adult and classless. Marriage across class lines would be permitted. Voting would then be restricted to adults.

I think 5 classes will do.



The father it was who was classless

November 30, 2014

The Obama daughters were clearly not very interested and were wishing they weren’t there. But to call them classless was, as Elizabeth Lauten did, just silly. She got dumped on and apologised and deserved the censure she got as due recompense for her stupidity.

The lack of class though is with Barack Obama (or his idiot advisors but the buck stops with him) who insisted on the totally uninterested girls being there. What were they expecting? If the traditional pardoning of the Thanksgiving turkey was intended to be a mock-sombre but actually comic occasion, then the girls, their costumes and their posture had nothing to contribute. And that could have been predicted. If the intention was to be scornful of the tradition, then the inclusion of a couple of listless girls could make some sense, but he could surely have done a better job of being sarcastic.

As it is I am left with the impression that Thanksgiving is not very important to the Obamas. Pardoning the turkey is a tradition that he does not care very much about and which he follows (including the presence of his reluctant daughters) just as a matter of form. His only objective was then to follow precedent maintaining form but with no substance. Presumably he also forced his daughters to attend as a matter of form.

And that is lacking in class.

Mind you, I have no great expectations of the elegance of behaviour which constitutes class, from current Presidents and Prime Ministers. Barack Obama is not

“as time requireth, a man of marvellous mirth and pastimes and sometime of as sad gravity. A man for all seasons”

Robert Whittington

President Barack Obama, joined by his daughters Malia, right, and Sasha, center, speaks at the White House, in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014, during the presidential turkey pardon ceremony, an annual Thanksgiving tradition. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

President Barack Obama, joined by his daughters Malia, right, and Sasha, center, speaks at the White House, in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014, during the presidential turkey pardon ceremony, an annual Thanksgiving tradition. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)


Class and Diamonds from “Essence of a Manager”

March 30, 2011
A scattering of "brilliant" cut diam...

Image via Wikipedia

Class from “Essence of a Manager”:

Class is not appearance and it is not personality or charisma; it is a style and elegance of behaviour and a consistency of actions.

The cut of a diamond as an analogy for class:

Class in a person is reminiscent to me of the cut of a diamond. A master diamond cutter chooses the facets he cuts to give the most pleasing whole in accordance with his own aesthetics and to suit a particular stone. He tries to create his composition of cuts to get the most impressive combination of the brilliance (due to light reflected out from the interior) and fire (due to refracted light within the stone) that he can. He polishes the facets to get the lustre (light reflected from the surface) he wants. Raw stones have their internal characteristics and colour and flaws, which both enable and restrict what cuts are possible. The master cutter’s level of skill may further define the type and fineness and symmetry of the cuts that are feasible. He optimises between waste reductions on the one hand against size and cut of the gems resulting from a single raw stone on the other. Sometimes, and especially if some flaw exists in the stone, the cutter will sacrifice size to get an improved brilliance or fire or scintillation. He may even deliberately use a flaw to enhance the fire or he may cut away a flaw to enhance the brilliance. He may vary the cut and polish depending upon the colour and clarity of the stone. He may design his cuts to enhance the colour which is near the surface of the stone. He combines and compounds his skills with the characteristics of the stone and compensates for its flaws to create the finished gem-stone. The value of a finished diamond rests in its size and clarity and colour and above all, in its cut.

A good manager is his own master diamond cutter. His fundamental attributes are his various facets and his weaknesses are his flaws. It is his own aesthetics and his awareness of his strengths and weaknesses which lead to the manner in which he combines, compounds or compensates for his attributes. The manner of their combination leads to his behaviour which when it is then observed in the light of the society he operates in shows up as his class. His behaviour defines his class. Therefore class is not something which is or can be developed explicitly, but it develops as a consequence of an individual’s awareness of his own strengths and weaknesses. An imperfect balance of his attributes improves as he develops his weak points or compensates for them. Inevitably his behaviour develops and matures. But classy behaviour, when observed, can be emulated.  Feedback from the surrounding society about the behaviour observed can be built upon. Emulation requires more than superficial replication of a behaviour pattern. It needs the development of the fundamental attributes as well. Merely copying behaviour which is not backed up by the soundness of the underlying attributes is not sustainable. Classy behaviour when it is just faked is undertaken for the sake of appearance and not because of any conviction of what is considered the right and correct thing to do. It is then like having fake diamonds of cubic zirconia or of silicon carbide, which glitter and can deceive but which shatter if subjected to impact stress.

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